For life's little ups and downs.

A rather quirky, funny and sometimes daunting look in to the life of someone who has a lot of health problems but does their best to keep positive. Punctuated by guinea pigs, anime, superheroes, transforming robots and cross stitching.

I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.

About Me:

A blog about life. I live with Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Crohns Disease (my IBS was rediagnosed as Crohns), Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. I have recently also been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea (which makes me stop breathing in my sleep) I live with these conditions, but I refuse to let them keep me down and out. I still try and make the most of my days despite being so poorly and having to rely on my wheelchair, nebulisers, nearly 50 pills a day and 2l/min of oxygen and CPAP.

I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My Collection... In it's full glory... (gulp)

I have been meaning to do this now for god knows how many months, but its getting my head around the sheer vastness of my Final Fantasy collection. Visitors to my home can attest to the size of my collection and how it seems to have taken over my entire home (not that I am complaining of course, in fact I love that it the toys and games that have captivated me for so many years have become such a huge part of my life and home).
I guess I think the best way to start this is to talk about where my Final Fantasy obsession began. Like many other fans, I was first introduced to the Final Fantasy franchise in 1997 when Final Fantasy 7 hit audiences and gamers. It was very well received by fans and critics alike and has been named by many as the Masterpiece of Square Enix (then known by Square Soft, a Japanese computer games development company). It is also one of the most requested games to be remade for the Playstation 3, and if that happened then I would have to be one of the first in line!! More about FF 7

I remember when I used to watch my older brother playing an import copy of FF7 on our old original Playstation. This was back when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I remember being fascinated with what I was watching so when I finally got the chance to play, it goes without saying that I was chomping at the bit. Especially when my mother brought the family a copy of the game, which went missing shortly after my brother left home (we all know what happened there don't we) but it was brought for me later on. I still have my original "Platinum" copy and it has traveled all over the place with me.

My toy collection began back before my 20th birthday when my then boyfriend brought me my first ever figurine. A Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children Sephiroth. Its probably safe to say that it is my favourite, the particular reason for that being that is that this particular figure was my first ever, little did I know that after a while it would be joined by the rest of the Advent Children range, plus DVDs, books, posters and many other curious objects that have become part of my home and every day life. I curate this collection with a lot of care and attention to detail and pieces such as the Bahamut Sin and Shera Airship (along with a shadow creeper) that were donated by a friend are particularly popular with visitors along with the model of Cloud on top of his trademark Fenrir Motorbike. A more recent purchase, but one that I am particularly impressed with. It takes pride of place upon my shelf above the rest of the collection.

Of course, I never got in to my collecting until I moved to Ivor Road, where for the short time I was there, I was forever ordering models off the internet or visiting Forbidden Planet with Cat. My collection continued to grow for some time, but when I became very sick I was sidelined a bit. But when I had passed my 1st year of my HND, I rewarded myself with a few new pieces. Including my Kingdom Hearts Sephiroth with articulated wing and the cold cast resin Sephiroth which was a bit of a steal really. I remember when it came in the post and I was watching out the window! I was pleased as punch when the doorbell rang and this delicate model was delivered.

The Static Arts Sephiroth was a different story all together, but either way, I walked out of it with a bargain, a fabulous model and an anecdote to go with. I had ordered it off Ebay on the day the model was released by Square Enix. The going rate for it in the UK, even if ordered direct was going to be something mad like £250, well I am not sure if that is still the case, but back then it was certainly the going rate. Either way I wasn't going to pay that much for it so decided to have a look on Ebay where a seller in the States was selling one for £89.99 + £30 shipping. I checked the authenticity and as soon as I was happy, I hit "Buy It Now!" and 6 weeks later, I received a letter from Parcel Force saying that I needed to pay £20 for the model to be allowed to pass through customs. After the hassle and many phonecalls to the depot, we managed to arrange the payment and the next day, I was delighted to finally receive the model that I had been waiting for, and drooling over the photos of the prototype on the Square Enix Website. In total, I think I payed just under £150 for something that was originally going to cost a hundred pounds more than that, so I was thrilled to bits with my purchase, and my bargain. My keen eye for a bargain didn't stop there either.

Not long after that purchase, I was browsing Ebay, as I do and I happened to spot an Advent Children Sculpture Arts Sephiroth figurine with a bid price of £30 with I think it was something like 30 mins left on the clock. I had a look at the auction and read as to why it had been so cheap. There had been some slight damage to the mounting pieces, which to me was a simple fix with a dab of superglue, and the patience to sit and hold it in place while the glue set. I was bowled over by the piece and was happy to accept that a repair would be needed. So I snapped it up and waited for 30 minutes to see if I had won. I was delighted when I got that email saying that it was now mine and I had to pay. Which I did without delay.

A couple of days later, a Royal Mail van was outside the building and I remember saying to my ex that it was too big to be for us, so nearly jumped a foot in the air when the doorbell rang and I received the large box. Upon opening it and tracking down the superglue, I repaired the model promptly and checked the resale of it. I was astounded that now it had been repaired and restored to its former glory, I had paid £30 for something that should have been £200- £250. Although I vow that I would never let any of my collection go, for any thing. They just mean so much to me.

It was also at this time that I decided to complete my collection of the original Final Fantasy VII Play Arts figures. Back at Ivor Road, I had managed to collect most of them, but was missing Cloud and Yuffie. When I went back to college, I rectified this and managed to get hold of both figurines as well as the CD soundtracks to Before Crisis/Last Order and the Reunion Tracks. All can be seen proudly displayed upon their shelf. It has to be mentioned that you may notice a small assortment of miniature figures dotted around the place. These have come from here there and everywhere and I thought they were a fun addition to my collection!

I also started work on my Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII collection too which has to be one of my smaller collections, consisting only of a book, a CD/DVD set and a DVD, as well as a pendant of the Cerberus charm that is found on the back of Vincent's weapon.

After that, I didn't get any more collectables for a good 18 months. I didn't mind of course and understood that bills and other things were more important than splashing the cash on things we could scarcely afford. But as soon as I moved to Stanley Close, my collectors instinct (and my DLA) became instrumental to completing my collection and even getting the Dissidia models. Dissidia was a more recent venture to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Final Fantasy franchise, and I think it was well thought out and well planned. I remember when I got my first Dissidia game, I was bouncing around shrieking "DISSI, DISSI, DISSI!!" for about a week afterwards and really enjoyed the gameplay. But it peaked my curious nature and I started to wonder about the other heroes and villains in the games. This is where I began my curiosity in to other Final Fantasy titles.

The first one I really became interested in was the most recent, Final Fantasy XIII, which tells the story of heroic ex-solider, Lightning and how she wants to save her sister, as well as her sister's boyfriend Snow and new friends Fang, Vanille and Hope. To find these charming figures was thrilling and it kick-started the collector in me to look for the rest of the Final Fantasy VII range, including the toys for Crisis Core, and the sought after Hardy Daytona Bike. Once I had set up my display here, I began my search as a lot of these things are either hard to find or very pricey when you do find them, but I think that is all part of the thrill of collecting and one of the reasons I really enjoy doing it.

I did find my Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core figures however and managed to collect the current set of 3 very quickly. The hardest to find was Zack Fair as he was only available for a limited time, so I was pleased with myself for managing to get hold of all 3 figures as well as the game and the 2 guide books (one is the Japanese Ultimania book where as the other is the UK Crisis Core guide book) and the CD soundtrack to that as well. I had loved the game when I played through it on release, but had felt very sad when the main character, Zack died at the end, even though I knew how it ended having played the games and watched the Last Order OVA enough times that I have considered doing a fandub of it so that people who haven't the patience for subbed media can enjoy it too.

The last Final Fantasy VII thing I have to show you is my model of Cloud on his Hardy Daytona Motorcycle. This was an awkward one to find and when it came it was even harder to get it so that Cloud sat on the bike just right for maximum effect. It is displayed with my Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide, a well read and well loved book, I assure you. I only got this model recently when my DLA had finally been backdated and I decided that I needed a treat after everything this past year has thrown at me.

Again displayed with a smattering of miniature figures and the Kingdom Hearts Sephiroth. Another popular one for visitors to my home.

This is my collection. I have lovingly collected these things for a long time. I know that there are a small number of collectors who are spitting furiously because none of them are in their original packaging, but my personal view there is that these things are made to be enjoyed, not kept in dusty old boxes in an attic somewhere or in a disused bedroom waiting to be sold after my death or in a divorce settlement. I never want to part with any of these things and no one could persuade me otherwise. I enjoy keeping them looking bright and admirable for many years to come and I really hope you enjoyed the opportunity to have a look at and hear the stories behind so many of the things that mean a lot to me. And I hope that one day I can do all this again and there will be even more models with even more stories.

Wendy xx

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